Today is the fourth day in our outreach, and I feel like a soldier that has marched solidly for 3 days! Evangelism is never easy, but with all the standing and walking, at least we have no trouble sleeping every night!
We had planned to got into Wellington City today, but the forecast was for 120km winds and rain, and the locations we chose to go to would have been exposed to the elements. So we decided to stay in Lower Hutt for the day. We picked the same location as yesterday afternoon – around the Queensgate shopping centre.
The first chat I had was with a man who was struggling to understand what I was saying. I think he had a learning disability. It taught me a lesson in how much we can complicate the Gospel, where it is much simpler to explain it like we would do to a child. He thanked me for the conversation, and left with a tract. I had to leave him in God’s hands, as I had no idea how much of what I said got through to him.
I chatted to a man from Africa named Peter, but all he wanted to do was tear down my arguments and have a verbal fight over small stuff. I decided that there was no point continuing. Often when I get into these type of conversations, I can become quite passive-aggressive, and I didn’t want to get angry or sarcastic with him. I cut my losses, and parted. He did take a tract, though, so maybe God can be the one to change his heart.
A young lady I offered a tract to said she was a Christian. Her name was Millie, and she said she was with a team of people down from Auckland. She asked me if I was born again. I said yes. She asked me if this was evidenced by being baptised by water and blood, and speaking in tongues? I thought uh-oh, this sounds dangerous. I told her I had been baptised, but only after being born again, as a sign to others of what I had been through. I also told her that God had not chosen to bless me with the gift of speaking in tongues. She started throwing Bible verses at me left, right and centre – all out of context, to try and prove her position that all believers must be able to speak in tongues and must be baptised. I countered with a couple of my own, but I really didn’t want to continue with that line of discussion. I asked her if Christ had taken 100% of her hell punishment for her. She said yes. I asked her if there was anything she needed to do to add to her salvation. She quoted John 3:5, where Jesus said you must be born of water and spirit. I asked her what about the thief on the cross, he wasn’t baptised, yet Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise. She countered by saying that those in the old testament being counted as righteous but not seeing Christ. I told her John 3:5 is in the New Testament, in fact it is Jesus Himself talking – so you can only come to two conclusions: Jesus lied to Nicodemus or the thief on the cross; or John 3:5 has nothing to do with baptism. She said no, no, I had it all wrong. I said I wasn’t prepared to call Jesus a liar, and wished her good luck with that on Judgement Day, where she was in danger of God saying to her “depart from me, you worker of iniquity, I never knew you”.
Later in the afternoon Millie sought me out again with another couple of out-of-context verses out of James (faith without works), and a pamphlet, explaining the false message. I took the pamphlet, gave her a ‘The Way To Heaven’ tract, which speaks how good works will never get us to heaven. I also told her to read the book of Galatians, where Paul berates them for adding to the Gospel, and wished her luck again on Judgement Day. She was going to need it!
We knew that rain was on the way. Combined with the high winds it would have been pointless trying to find people to talk to. So we escaped to the mall foodcourt where we had a coffee, and could keep an eye out on the weather. I showed Glen the pamphlet Millie gave me, and he said this was a cult that he had run into before. I was glad I didn’t waste too much time with her (although every Gospel conversation is never a waste of time!).
After the rain cleared, we went back out. I stood over by the ATM, where a young man named Mo walked past. I engaged him with ‘what happens after we die’ question, and he thought he might end up in hell. A few questions later it was confirmed. I went through the whole Gospel conversation with him, and noticed that he couldn’t take his eyes off me. They were wide and unblinking, somewhat off-putting. He was very humble, though. I’ve never come across someone so engaged like that before. He professed faith in Christ right there and then, but it was like God had put cement in his shoes. He couldn’t move away. I showed him how to download a free Bible, and gave him a church card. He gave me the hardest handshake I’ve ever had, gripped my arm with his other hand, and told me I had changed his life. I said I did nothing, but God gets all the glory for being good to us! It was like God had brought him to me, and wouldn’t let him move until he had heard exactly what He had pre-ordained him to hear!
Pastor Jarryd joined us late morning for a while. I saw him chatting to a homeless guy that Glen had spoken to earlier. He said he didn’t get very far with him.
At the High St bus stop I sat and chatted with an elderly gentleman named Kendall. He said he was a good person because he had fought for this country in war. He regaled me with a few war stories, and said that this generation knew nothing about what he had gone through. Every time I swung to the spiritual, he dragged it back to war. I tried using the stories to illustrate God’s justice towards us, but he got angry with me, saying that Christianity was no different than any other religion – what right did I have to shove mine down his throat? He didn’t want to talk anymore, so I shook his hand and thanked him for his service. At least he got a tract.
A chat with a young man named Hira turned out to be a great one. He said he believed everything I said regarding being thrown into hell, but wasn’t prepared to do anything about it right now. I asked him when he was going to die, and said no one knew that. I said God did, and He is withholding his wrath another day to give you time to repent. He understood the urgency and thanked me. I just have to pray that God is indeed patient with him!
We went home for lunch, then came straight back to the corner to continue where we left off.
I met a lady named Hannah, who was deaf. She could lip-read, so I gave her a couple of tracts, and told her they were regarding what happens after we die. She was excited and gave me the thumbs up!
I gave a tract to a lady named Miriam. She asked what church I go to, so I told her. She said she was down from Auckland with a team, to spread the Gospel. I thought uh-oh, here we go again! But she said it was a Baptist Church. She thanked me for what I was doing, and even offered to pray for me! I prayed for her and her team as well, and gave her a handful of tracts to help her out. She gave me a hug. It was a totally different outcome than the other woman from Auckland!
I walked across the corner and spoke to a man named David. He came from the angle that there was no God, and that mankind just made Him up to feel better about themselves. He agreed with my building / builder analogy in that creation can’t make itself. I said that no longer made him an atheist, but an agnostic. He said either way he didn’t care, but he walked away with a tract at least. The seed has been sown, God will need to bring someone else along to water it.
I handed a tract, and started having an awesome chat with a Filipino girl dressed in a Mario costume. Yes, even Mario is a bad person, and deserves God’s judgement! I started giving her the good news of someone taking her hell punishment, when her friends came over and pulled her away. I asked her friends to wait a couple of minutes, but they were insistent. I told Mario girl to read the tract aloud to her friends.
Back over the road outside Queensgate i asked Kamahl where he will go when he dies. He said he didn’t know, and he couldn’t care less. He told me to stop telling people about ‘worthless religious garbage’, and walked away. God please have mercy on him!
I walked back over by the ATM. The crowds of people come in waves on different corners of the street. I talked to a colouful Maori chap. He told me he had lived with some people who ‘prophesied’ over him. He said he started having lots of weird dreams with angels and demons in them. I decided to start from the beginning with him. It turned out to be a great chat. In the end I showed him how to download the Bible on his phone, and he said he might come to our church.
I walked around to the Bunny St bus stop to find Glen. He was deep in a chat with someone. That side of Queensgate can be a bit rough. Nearby I offered a man a tract. He asked what it was for. I said it’s a Gospel tracts that comes with a question – what happens after we die. He said he was a good person, so he would go to heaven. I asked him what his definition of good was. He started accusing me of challenging his goodness, yelling that he has helped out more homeless people than me, and how dare I. He became extremely abusive and unhinged, swearing loudly at me. I apologised if he felt offended, but that just made him worse. He told me on no certain terms where to go. Other people were starting to look on, so I made the decision to leave him be. Glen was still in conversation oblivious to it all, so I made the decision to walk into a mall shop to come around and exit the other side of Queensgate. He was still swearing at me when I left.
After yesterday, we decided to stay until school was out. We had had so many good conversations with the school kids yesterday that we wanted to keep the momentum going. The rain came back, so it was a bit difficult getting a conversation in with the wind and rain. The kids were running in every direction. I was getting quite weary anyway, so switched to just giving out tracts.
So another day of sowing Gospel seeds has come to an end. I had good and bad conversations, but God was glorified in all of them!
One more day to go…
PS sorry for the lack of photos today, I had so many conversations I forgot about it!